When working from home doesn’t go quite to plan
Working from home is becoming increasingly popular amongst employees. A pan-European survey produced by IDC and Cornerstone OnDemand revealed that more than half (59%) of line managers and HR professionals surveyed said that the proportion of employees working from home has increased over the past two years.
But, what is it that makes working from home so appealing?
Well, for a start, working from home provides flexibility which would otherwise be unavailable in the office. The ability to work wherever and whenever you want is very appealing. Feeling lazy? Work on the sofa. Feeling more productive? Work at your desk. Don’t want to leave your bed? Work in bed. The possibilities are endless.
Then there is the option of what to wear. Obviously, this will be the most comfortable thing in your wardrobe. Pyjamas are also an option.
Working from home also eliminates the long, dreaded commute to and from the office each day. No fuel costs, no road taxes and no 10-minute hunt for a parking space. Most of all, there is no rush to cram into a boiling carriage where sweaty armpits are the only view and staring at the floor is a must, in order to avoid all awkward eye contact. Oh, and it provides you with an extra hour to drudge through that pile of work you have.
However, obviously there are some disadvantages as well. IDC and Cornerstone OnDemand’s survey found that 1 in 10 employees admitted they don’t enjoy working from home. Sometimes it just doesn’t go to plan as highlighted by some of these funny experiences (which we'll keep anonymous!):
“The Skype call I have at 9:30 is ringing but I’m still in my pyjamas. I’m pretending that my Wi-Fi is playing up again whilst I run around the house frantically trying to find a clean shirt to wear (no one will ever know that I’m still wearing pyjama bottoms!”
“Now my Wi-Fi IS actually playing up – my kids must be streaming Netflix – now I'm sat waiting for my emails to load for what feels like hours.”
“The youngest is at school (thank goodness) but I’m due to pick her up soon and I’ve hardly even started my work… where has the day gone?! Meanwhile, the eldest seems to have forgotten about his A-levels next week. He is hanging out with six of his mates on the back lawn smoking. Apparently they have forgotten about the newly installed CCTV too.”
“The cat won’t take its antibiotics. Is he going to throw up? I live in fear.”
“But in all seriousness, can the neighbour stop drilling into the wall right where I’m trying to work? The car alarm outside is making enough noise as it is. Funny how suddenly the car belongs to no one.”
“I’ve had 3 cups of coffee. Apart from a racing pulse, they don’t seem to have helped. It’s quite boring at home really.”
“I’m daydreaming again. The fridge is full and located just round the corner. Now THAT is something you don’t get in the office. It’s ok, the diet can always start next week…”
These stories make us giggle but it is important to find ways to not be distracted when working from home, in order to be as productive as possible. Our guidance to home workers, and those managing home workers, is to:
- Find a space which is comfortable and quiet and stick to this place. Preferably an area which has a table or something to place your laptop and notes on. Working at the kitchen table is fine but if household members wander in and out, this can be distracting
- Construct an atmosphere to fit your needs. Adjust the lighting and temperature so that it will make you work your best
- Make a rough plan of work. Aim to achieve specific tasks by certain points in the day. However, ensure sure you set aside time to eat properly – it can be too easy to just snack all day being so close to a fridge full of food
- Be equipped! Set yourself up to have drinks to hand so you aren’t constantly wandering round the house. Make sure you are also located near a plug socket to avoid any mad scrambles for a charger
- Be prepared! Be certain that you are able to connect and have the right equipment to keep up with what’s happening in the office – you don’t want to be running to the nearest café because you Wi-Fi is down!